Good MP, Good Govt and Good Debate
This is the heading of an article by Jeremy Au Yong that screamed across the ST yesterday. He was reporting on Swee Say's assessment on the new changes to the electoral system, that it will bring about these results. How many of you agree with this conclusion? We have good govt for many years and people are getting wealthier, buying million dollar homes without battling an eyelid. Singaporeans are very rich and and living very well. Will we be getting better govt with the changes? Will the people be better off than they were now? Some will and some will remain losers all their lives. Making any one sentence or one paragraph conclusion on this will be too simplistic as the answer can only be found across the whole population. Good MPs? According to who and to who standard of assessment? Slipper MPs are bad, that's quite obvious. What else, must be highly qualified, must be successful, must be rich, must have rich parents, must come from top schools, must have straight As? Would these be the criteria to determine good MPs? Or without these, the quality of MPs will be poor, the barrier to entry if too low will be bad? I am still pondering what is a good MP? Good debate? Do we have good debates, great debates? With 15 minutes of coverage on the TV, one can hardly form any conclusion about the quality of debate, if there was a debate at all. Most often it was either govt MPs praising the govt or govt MPs talking down to the 3 opposition MPs. The provision of more NCMPs is just a side show. Nice to have but mostly inconsequential. What the Parliament needs are MPs of the people's choice, elected by the people under a system that is fair and equitable to all parties. Go back to the single ward representation of the past, and lower the financial barriers to entry. Let the potential MPs stand out and present themselves to the people first, convince the people that they are worthy to be an MP and get voted into the Parliament. Only then will we have a real Parliament of the people, by the people and for the people. Only then can we have MPs defending the rights of the people and not defending the interests of their parties. Retain a few 3 member GRCs to ensure minority representation and the rest can go straight to the people and let the people decide what they think is good for them. The electorate is well educated and mature today. On the other hand, let me offer a simplistic view here, good debates do not guarantee good govt. So it is better to have a business like govt and a not so good debate in Parliament. To have good MPs, good debates and good govt, is like having the cake and eats it. Too good to be true.